“I am out of shape,” he huffed, though he seemed anything but.

Gray, repping Atlanta with a Coca-Cola t-shirt.

Gray, repping Atlanta with a Coca-Cola t-shirt.

I encountered Gray on my run commute home Wednesday, at the corner of Piedmont and MLK, in the gold-domed glare of the Capitol. Weekly I see new run commuters, but often they are blocks away or my camera is at home; so it was with surprise and delight, and entirely without elegance, that I crowed, “Run commuter! You, too?!”

Gray told me he was running something over two miles, from Georgia State University, where he is a student, to Grant Park, due south. The campus is so close, he said, that he figured he could just run the distance. And it makes good sense: Georgia State University, one of Georgia’s four research institutions, is surrounded by a confusing network of four-lane one-way streets, viaducts, and turn-only/no-turn lanes that is as sensible navigable as an M.C. Escher drawing. Driving’s difficulty is compounded by jockeying for parking in stories-tall decks; rising transit fares are not always a student’s budgetary ally; but bicycling certain routes, and running any of them, is wonderfully easy, and often quicker than muddling through traffic.

Standard Victorinox backpack, 20-25 pounds with textbooks and a laptop. A hip belt of some kind would both mitigate its pendulous action and prevent that from drawing his shirt's back up.

Standard Victorinox backpack, 20-25 pounds with textbooks and a laptop. A hip belt of some kind would both mitigate its pendulous action and prevent that from drawing his shirt’s back up.

Gray stated he was out of shape, hence the huffing and puffing as we spoke; however, I must disagree: he seemed fit, and Gray had just run up a rather steep, lengthy hill of Piedmont Avenue, carrying 20-25 pounds on his back (textbooks, laptop, and sundry). Tell me you would have your wind, having done the same. And I had just run two level blocks with maybe 10 pounds, and was huffing as much (see my greeting above).

Great job, Gray! Run hard, study harder.

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